1° Celsius temperature rise can lower wheat, other crops’ yields by 3-7%

Climate-related hazards can adversely affect India’s food supply

In 2022, India recorded extremely high temperature during March that triggered an early onslaught of heat waves causing high evapotranspiration and moisture stress that adversely affected rabi crops, particularly wheat.

In its ‘Price Policy for Rabi Crops: The Marketing Season 2023-24’, the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) has stated that rise in temperature caused yellowing and shrivelling of wheat grain and an early maturity that resulted in yield loss. Moreover, other crops such as gram, maize, and mustard also got adversely affected due to extreme temperatures, it mentioned.

CACP stated that climate-related hazards in Indian states could have potentially adverse effects on national food supply, affecting both local production and inter-state trade. Some studies found that the largest climate hazards to state food supply are in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, and Assam.

As per one research study, a 1° Celsius increase in temperature would cause yield loss of about 3-7% in wheat, soybean, mustard and groundnut.

The commission mentioned in the 2023-24 rabi price policy that the productivity of major crops will further see a 10-40% loss due to rise in temperature, rainfall variability, and decrease in irrigation water by 2100.

Wheat growth in India could be affected under increasing temperature i.e., more than 34° Celsius, and the same has been witnessed in the recent rabi season when wheat yield declined in major producing states due to rise in temperature.

A study by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)-Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture (CRIDA), Hyderabad on ‘Heat Wave 2022 — Causes, impacts and way forward for Indian Agriculture’ also predicted that extreme events such as the recent heat wave will occur more frequently and severely in the years to come due to climate change.

Therefore, more focus should be given on climate resilient sustainable agricultural practices and also developing climate resilient crop varieties and technologies, which can minimise the climate change impact.

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